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Studio Snapshot – Accordion Books

This past week I realized I had sold completely out of my little hard covered accordion books with watercolor messages inside. I make these little books out of 80# Strathmore Aquarius watercolor paper. It’s a great weight paper for books, takes watercolor without buckling and folds beautifully.

One accordion book finished and four in the process of being made.

One accordion book finished and four in the process of being made.

These little books are about 3″ tall and 22″ in length. I make them with various messages inside. The covers are some of my paste papers which I paste over book board which is just a little denser than mat board.

This is a detail of the above photo so you can see what the watercolor looks like before I start my embellishment.

This is a detail of the above photo so you can see what the watercolor looks like before I start my embellishment.

Here are the accordion books finished.

Here are the accordion books finished.

Happy Birthday accordion book.

Happy Birthday accordion book.

Thank You accordion book.

Thank You accordion book.

Happy Birthday accordion book.

Happy Birthday accordion book.

I Love You accordion book.

I Love You accordion book.

Happy Birthday accordion book.

Happy Birthday accordion book.

These little books are a joy to make. Making them makes me feel happy.

Enjoy, Candy

 

Calligraphy Cut-Out Place Cards

I try to practice calligraphy every day (notice I say try). Writing the alphabet or alphabet sentences every day can become boring. So, I try to come up with different ways to practice. My latest was to make these calligraphy cut-out place cards.

I turned my practice calligraphy into calligraphy cut out place cards.

I turned my practice calligraphy into calligraphy cut-out place cards.

Please note that these are practice pieces and not final works. The ink bled on a number of the names. And this was also my first attempt at this type of paper cutting. I couldn’t find a small knife, so these were done with my box cutter. Even so, I think these have promise.

I thought I'd make a place card for my dad.

This place card will be for my dad, probably for Father’s Day.

While I did my place cards using calligraphy, they could just as easily be made using a font printed on a printer. For my paper, I used scans of my paste papers that I printed on my inkjet printer. Then I did calligraphy on that paper. I think the ink bled because I was printing on top of the inkjet paper. I would suggest not trying to calligraphy on top of inkjet paper.

Place card for Beverly.

Place card for Beverly.

To make a place card, first either calligraph or print a name on a piece of paper. I suggest either heavy text weight paper or a light card stock. Somewhere about half way up the letters I draw a pencil line across the paper, but not on the letters themselves. You can see the pencil line has become the fold line in the photograph below.

Close up showing the cut out of the letters.

Close up showing the cut out of the letters.

Once you have your pencil line, cut around the letters that protrude above the pencil line.

Place card for Jean.

Place card for Jean.

If there is an inside of a letter that’s above the line, cut that out too. If there is an inside of a letter that’s part above and part below the line, cut out just the part that’s above the line. Examples of this are in the “B” of Beverly and the “O” of Popa and the “D” of Candy.

This shows the cut-out for Jean.

This shows the cut-out for Jean.

I found that I liked cutting just outside of the calligraphy so that a little of the paper that the calligraphy is on shows. I tried cutting exactly on the outside of the calligraphy, but it felt a little dead. Leaving just a bit of the color of the paper around the calligraphy seems to add a little pizzaz.

I made 3 different place cards for Paul and the calligraphy bled in all three. This is the least worst of the bunch.

I made 3 different place cards for Paul and the calligraphy bled in all three. This is the least worst of the bunch.

After you have completed the cutting, fold on the pencil line. Fold only the paper that is not the letters. This is a little tricky the first time. Be patient with yourself. It gets easier with practice. Cut the paper to the size you desire and enjoy.

The ink ran on this one too, but I still like it.

The ink ran on this one too, but I still like it.

The next thing I plan to do is to draw on the calligraphy with metallic pens. I might even do some sort of a collage on the names too. This is just the beginning of my playing.

Enjoy, Candy

Anniversary Texture, Sierras in Black ~ September 11 and 14, 2013

Early September is usually pretty active. Not only am I packing and preparing for my Women’s Journaling Annual Retreat, but it is also my birthday and our anniversary too. So this page has whispers of how terrain between Roland and I had smoothed out, the lace-y laser cut paper pattern from the anniversary card Ro gave me (sometimes draping words with a filtered or translucent paper will give you a bit more privacy on a journal page – and I inserted it with photo corners so that I can take it out to read when I want to), the business card from where we dined (disappointingly) and the bitter sweet last evening at home before I take off for the Sierras where the retreat is held.

All that echoes against the opposite page … the first full day at Lake Alpine Resort up in the California Sierras. Both Jean Warren and I arrive a

day or two ahead to finalize locations for different creative processes. This day we took off, up to a nearby duo of glacier formed lakes called Mosquito Lake.

Now I’d mentioned that with this journal, I really wanted to mix things up, right? Well, there we are at the pristine lake, I’m all seated having found the perfect scene I wanted to paint. I get out my materials from my pack, open up my journal ready to watercolor – – and – – as you see, it is a black journal page. I really, seriously considered skipping the page and going on until I found a watercolor page, but at last, decided to stick to my commitment. I worked, rather uncomfortably, with the black page. Using a white Schwans Stabilo pencil,

graphite pencils and some of my wax crayons for the color accents I depicted the lovely, sparkling lake and white cabins before me. The lettering was with white gel pen. I’m mostly pleased with the image – – but even more with the fact that I stuck to my aim of testing out new materials, papers and increasing my open minded attitude. (PS You’ll see in the next pages … I develop a way to cope with my yearning to paint on watercolor paper when the journal page is NOT a watercolor page!)

It remained a perfect day up in the azure sky-ed mountains … one of my favorite places here on earth!

Birthday Traditions ~ September 3, 2013

When I made this journal, I wanted to challenge myself. I was feeling like I’d become kind of ‘cookie-cutter’ with my journal page designs in my ole’ big Canson 10 x 14 inch journal. I chose to make the shape and size different as well as mix in un-predictable papers. So already, just four pages into this new journal I’m feeling “bothered” that some of the paper is watercolor paper and some is mere writing paper. My watercolor paintings ripple the pages and I have to use less and less water. I notice I’m feeling “squeezed” into this smaller 8 1/4 x 8 1/2 inch page format. I’m wondering why I decided to be innovative!!!? But I need to remember – – that stretching one’s self is never comfortable. And it is through these feelings that we get new experiences and creative
stimulation. Ok? Ok!

Notice what a fun element the back side of the Paper Clay insert has become on these following pages? And even what is pages ahead, like that yellow glowing area showing through the hole on the right page, has an effect upon the page design. I’m often surprised with the serendipity and how wonderfully it works out!

But with all that aside, on these two pages, I celebrate my birthday. Roland gifted me with my favorite dessert, the Marion-berry Cobbler from the Standingstone Brewery in Ashland and it of course, landed on my journal page. It was a time of confusion and crazy unplanned mishaps … between visitors dropping in to a disappointing dinner out to cancellations for my Women’s Journaling Retreat … one of the cheery-est memories I could pluck from that time is my favorite cut-outs from birthday cards. For two years in a row now, my dear “Aunt Karen” has won out as my most favorite card! See the little kitten in the back pocket of a pair of jeans? That’s it! This page always makes me smile!

Studio Snapshot – Chocolate Hershey Kisses Mice

A few weeks ago I showed how to make chocolate mice from Hershey’s Kisses. Since then, I made over 100 mice. I shared on Valentine’s Day to an entire dining room of people. Needless to say, the mice were a big hit.

The mice are gathering together, getting ready for Valentine's Day.

The mice are gathering together, getting ready for Valentine’s Day.

Since posting the DIY instructions, I found purple Hershey’s Kisses and couldn’t help but add them to my mice. The purple kisses are a dark chocolate, the pink and silver and red are milk chocolate and the gold are milk chocolate with almond.

The mice seemed to gravitate towards all things chocolate.

The mice seemed to gravitate towards all things chocolate.

The chocolate strawberries were delicious.

The chocolate strawberries were delicious.

This mouse is checking out the chocolate mouse. I must say it way ever so good!

This mouse is checking out the chocolate mousse. I must say it way ever so good!

For instructions to make your own mice, see my blog post: DIY – Chocolate Mice From Hershey’s Kisses.

Enjoy, Candy

P.S. My friends, Elizabeth and Kay tried making these and added a little something more to their mice. They added a pin for the nose and wire for whiskers. I was going to try this too, but I had some other friends tell me it would make the chocolate inedible, which they didn’t like at all.

A New Journal’s First Page ~ The Fires ~ August 30, 2013

I seem to have created this tradition for starting a new journal ~ inserting a PaperClay object. If you haven’t used this diverse product, I love that it’s just white cellulose, can air dry and can be painted with anything you choose. Found at most craft stores! For each new journal I like to contemplate a theme, or characteristic I’d like to focus upon for the period of filling this new journal. With this journal, I chose “deep instincts” and deliberately left the piece unsealed, so that it felt more organic, earthy. I always have to cut through several journal pages to allow the PaperClay piece to fit. What I like about doing this on my first page is that it starts the page (eliminating that scary blank-white-first-page syndrome) and also projects those open holes through the next few pages, adding a design element I get to work around.

That summer was bereft with five large forest fires that encircled our valley. Burning 35,000 acres, the smoke poured into our area, forcing me to wear a mask for our nightly walks and cut out most outdoor activities. These images of flames ‘n smoke were the theme for the remaining summer and fall.

But I had to insert a bit of optimism and aliveness onto that page … and so … a quick sketch of the spikey, green water chest nut ripening on our near by tree.

Even tho the summer was a rather bleak one, I do like how the two page spread opens up and starts this journal. And I’m off and running into this brand-spanking new journal . . . y-i-i-i-i-i-i-p-p-p-p-i-e!!

Valentine Girl & BlogLovin

 

Hi! Happy Day before Valentine's!

 

Valentine Girl

Since its Friday the 13th and the day before Valentine's Day, I thought I'd share a little heart day Valentine Girl.  This is from a card I created for my Mom.  She gave me the toy that was my model.  I think she received it in a happy meal of some sort.  In any case, I've had it for about 20 years.  Silly, but fun!  

Enjoy!  Thanks!

PS.   I'm joining "Bloglovin" to try its reader function and network with other blogs.  This post was used to "claim" my blog and as a test post.  Thanks!

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The post Valentine Girl & BlogLovin appeared first on Margaret Stermer-Cox – Watercolor Artist.

DIY – Valentine Envelope Gift Certificate Booklet

Gift certificates are great Valentine’s Day gifts. Who wouldn’t enjoy a foot massage or dinner at their favorite restaurant or even just hugs and kisses. To make these gift certificates super special, I’ve made a booklet out of red envelopes. The envelope booklet makes a wonderful presentation for the gift certificates.

Valentine Gift Certificate Booklet open looks a bit like an accordion book.

Valentine Gift Certificate Booklet open looks a bit like an accordion book.

Firs,t I found some red envelopes at my local Staples store. Any color envelope will do, but I decided on red. Once I knew the size of my envelope, I designed my gift certificates to fit in that size envelope. You can make your own gift certificates using your computer or stickers or just write your gift certificate by hand on a white piece of paper.

I made 8 Valentine gift certificates.

I made 8 Valentine gift certificates.

I found these red envelopes that seem perfect to hold the gift certificates.

I found these red envelopes that seem perfect to hold the gift certificates.

Glue the inside flap of one of the envelopes. I used glue stick because it doesn’t cause the paper to curl as much as a wetter glue would do. Place another envelope on the inside flap you just glued (see photo below).

Glue the inside flap of the envelope and place another envelope on top. Continue until you have used all your envelopes.

Glue the inside flap of the envelope and place another envelope on top. Continue until you have used all your envelopes.

Insert your gift certificates inside the envelopes. It now looks something like an accordion book.

Here the gift certificates have been placed in the envelopes.

Here the gift certificates have been placed in the envelopes.

All that’s left is to wrap it up into a pretty package. I used one white and one red ribbon and tied the booklet together.

The presentation of these gift certificates makes the gift feel super special.

The presentation of these gift certificates makes the gift feel super special.

Originally I was going to use 8 envelopes, but I liked the look and feel of 6 envelopes. You can use as many envelopes as you want.

Enjoy and have a Happy Valentine’s Day, Candy

How To Draw

The "Draw" Question

I've been wondering about what people mean when they say someone knows how to draw.  Draw what?  Draw how?  How did they learn?  Do we every finish learning?

Drawing: Vase and boxes

Drawing Approaches

I think there are all sorts of drawing approaches.  Just as in painting, there is the classical approach where the drawing looks like the subject; ie a chair looks like  a chair.  On the other side of the spectrum, there is the non-objective approach, where the drawing doesn't look like an object.  Instead, it relates to a feeling, impression or maybe something else entirely.  

Common Comments

Back to this idea of "knowing how to draw".  Hanging around artists, art shows and art organzations, one hears the comment "oh, that person really knows how to draw".  And the opposite is common too, "that person doesn't know how to draw…"  The funny thing is that it is assumed that we know what these two comments mean.   Perhaps the speaker would be clear if he or she said instead, "I like the drawing" or "I don't like the drawing".  

Drawing Study: Egg and Box

My Thoughts

It seems to me that knowing how to draw is something we might strive for.  Some of us might become accomplished and masterful at drawing.  But, do we ever reach a point where we can say definitively "I know how to draw?"

Or, maybe we can.  Is a simple line, drawn on a piece of paper, evidence of being able to draw; of knowing "how to draw"?

Drawing Class

OK, you say, what is this really about?  I love drawing and I strive to learn more about the art of drawing.  Currently, I am enrolled and participating in a classical drawing class taught at one of the local art centers.  I am studying the fundamentals with desires to improve technical and artistic skills.  Its all part of my larger goal to "see as an artist sees".

But, even as I draw boxes, eggs and vases, I wonder, is one approach to drawing more valid than another?  Is drawing from life more artistic than drawing from imagination or emotion, or the other way around?  Which is right, true or authentic?

Answers?  Relax!

I don't have all the answers.  My husband suggests I just relax and enjoy drawing.  Could be he has a point.

Drawings

Just for fun, I'm including three drawings that I worked this first week of drawing.  Maybe we'll compare in April when I've completed the class.  These are academic drawings done with a specific purpose in mind.  I'm studying proportions, placement, perspective and structure in the drawings shown her.

Opinion

What do I think?  I hope learning how to draw never ends!  And, mastering the art and skill of drawing would good.

Class Acknowledgement

The class I'm taking is called "Academic Approach to Still Life Drawing and Painting with Sarah F. Burns".  It is being taught at the Ashland Art Center, Ashland OR.

PS.  I adjusted the contrast in the digital files of these drawings so you can see the pencil work better.  

Drawing: Column and boxes

 

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The post How To Draw appeared first on Margaret Stermer-Cox – Watercolor Artist.

Studio Snapshot – Happy Valentine’s Day Cards

My studio time this week has been minimal as I have been working on cleaning and organizing my garage (lots of art supplies stored in there), and locating all my tax records. I have had time to package and put together a few Happy Valentine’s Day cards.

Happy Valentine's Day cards

Happy Valentine’s Day cards

As usual, my cards are 5″ by 7″ and fit into a standard 5″ by 7″ mat or frame.

Happy Valentine's Day cards

Happy Valentine’s Day cards

These cards are prints of an original gouache and ink piece I did on Arches cover, a printmaking paper.

Happy Valentine's Day card

Happy Valentine’s Day card

Enjoy, Candy